World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day - Thursday, November 14, 2024

Health Awareness education

What is World Diabetes Day?

World Diabetes Day is every year on November 14, first created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Foundation and the World Health Organization. Diabetes is a chronic disease where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin if any at all. It also leads to serious health conditions and, in many ways, can be preventable. That’s why we take this day to spread awareness and education.

History of World Diabetes Day

Diabetes is considered to have been around 1550 BC. The successful extraction and injection of insulin into humans was discovered in 1922. So, comparatively, our understanding of diabetes is quite new compared to its long, arduous march through history. 
The difference between type two and type one started around 1850, where medical professionals at the time believed that they knew enough of the difference between the two to warrant two categories. 
Since then, type II diabetes has ballooned to 90 percent of the those affected, with an estimated $425 million individuals affected worldwide. This alarming rise in such a preventable disease is one of the reasons the WHO and IDF wanted to create World Diabetes Day – to help spread awareness of how to prevent contracting the illness. 
Having to manage blood sugar levels on a daily basis is a time-consuming and costly endeavor, as the economic cost of diabetes globally is around $727 billion (USD) and in the US alone it costs almost a third of that, at $245 billion. 
The costliness and its prevention create even more reason for us to spread awareness of the disease, and also celebrate the birth of the man who helped bring insulin into the modern world as an effective treatment against it. 

World Diabetes Day was first introduced in 1991, and founded by both the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization. In reaction to the rise in cases of Diabetes worldwide, it was decided to choose a day of the year to raise awareness of Diabetes and related causes. The day chosen was the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, a medical scientist who co-discovered Insulin and was the first person to use it on humans.

The theme of World Diabetes Day regularly changes. For example, the theme for the day between 2009 and 2013 was education and prevention, and in the past such themes have been used such as human rights, lifestyle, obesity, the disadvantaged and vulnerable, and children/teenagers. Various events around the world mark the day including raising awareness in the media, lectures and conferences, sporting events, and leaflet/poster campaigning. “Going blue” is another global event to mark the day, where people wear blue and landmark buildings and monuments around the world are lit up in blue, to help spread awareness of the day.

World Diabetes Day timeline

November 14, 1991

World Diabetes Day founded

On Banting's 100th birthday, the IDF and WHO declare World Diabetes Day to spread awareness about the illness throughout the world during a rising diabetes epidemic. 


Insulin is discovered

Banting, with aid from his assistant, Charles Best, figures out how to extract insulin from animals and carries out the first injection insulin. Initially a failure, after a few tries they were able to do so with no side effects. 

November 14, 1891

Frederick Banting is born

Born in Ontario, Banting was one of the two scientists who led the research into discovering insulin. 


Just a sip

Doctors diagnosing diabetes would taste the urine of the patient.

How to Observe World Diabetes Day

  1. Wear the blue circle

    The blue circle logo is a global symbol for diabetes awareness. On World Diabetes Day, wear a t-shirt, necklace or bracelet with the logo or create one yourself to make others aware of this dangerous disease and its effects.

  2. Organize a diabetes fair

    Partner with health officials to sponsor a diabetes fair at your place of work or your neighborhood. Offer diabetes screenings, disseminate information and brochures, and provide information on what people can do to prevent type II diabetes and stay healthy.

  3. Get tested

    Symptoms of diabetes can include but aren’t limited to excessive excretion of urine, thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes and fatigue. In addition, being overweight or obese greatly increases the chances of having type II diabetes. It’s estimated 1 in 2 adults with diabetes is undiagnosed. Use World Diabetes Day as reminder to get tested if you have any risk factors or symptoms.

Why World Diabetes Day is Important

  1. It draws attention to the diabetes epidemic

    Over a 25 year span (from 1988 to 2013) diabetes diagnoses increased roughly 380%. And these diagnoses are dangerous—by the year 2030 the World Health Organization predicts diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death in the world. This condition demands attention—and that’s why having a whole day dedicated to it is crucial.

  2. Type II diabetes can be avoided

    World Diabetes Day serves as a reminder to live our lives more healthfully. Type II diabetes can be limited through a healthy diet, regular physical activity and maintaining a normal weight. Tobacco use exacerbates type II diabetes as well, and is best avoided.

  3. It’s a reminder to be educated about diabetes

    Type II diabetes has grown to epidemic proportions, but type I diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, is just as serious a health threat. Approximately 1.25 million Americans are diagnosed with type I diabetes, but the cause of the disease is unknown. However, the health effects are just as devastating as type II diabetes. World Diabetes Day serves as a reminder to know the symptoms of diabetes, get tested, and get treatment.

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